Medical Marijuana Advocate Arrested in San Francisco

January 26, 2006

, Los Angeles Times

Medical marijuana crusader Steve Kubby, a former Laguna Beach resident who was a 1998 Libertarian candidate for governor and one of the authors of California's watershed medical marijuana law, was in custody today.

He was arrested today at San Francisco International Airport after spending five years as a fugitive in Canada to escape a jail sentence here.

Kubby was sentenced in March 2001 to four months in jail by a Placer County judge for possession of a peyote button and a hallucinogenic mushroom after jurors acquitted him of the more serious charges that he was selling pot grown in his basement medical marijuana garden.

The peyote and mushroom were in his possession, Kubby said, for an artist's rendering to be used in a book he wrote on the drug war while living in Olympic Valley, just north of Lake Tahoe.

Amid wrangling with authorities over his sentence, Kubby moved with his family to British Columbia in May 2001.

Kubby says he needs marijuana to curb symptoms of a rare type of adrenal cancer and says he will suffer and die without it in jail. Jailhouse use of medical marijuana is not allowed in California, where voters in 1996 approved the nation's first law allowing the use of cannabis as medicine with a doctor's recommendation.

Around the time Kubby moved to Canada, judges in Placer County ordered his original misdemeanor convictions converted to felonies. Kubby, who says he now could face up to three years behind bars, has appealed those rulings, which he calls a miscarriage of justice.

Kubby also worries that prosecutors will attempt to extend his jail stay because he left the country and was declared a fugitive.

"They don't want to admit it's political," Kubby said of officials in Placer County. "I committed the unpardonable sin of helping pass a medical marijuana law that police and prosecutors hate."

"The officials in Canada might be sending him back to a death sentence," Bill McPike, Kubby's U.S. lawyer, said last week when his client was cleared for deportation from Canada.


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